Living Water Flows On Our Island
Written by By Teacher Ari, MSI Site Leader in the Island of Promise
Summer 2017. I rode my motorbike through dusty, winding paths on the Island of Promise. It was over 1000 F and it would be three more hours before I reached the village a friend told me about. I left my wife and 6 month old baby girl at home, knowing that I might need to spend a couple of nights in that village.
My mind wandered to a meeting I had years ago with Mr. Richardson back in Java. At that time, I had been teaching for five years at MSI’s Lab School. I had been praying for two sleepless weeks, asking God for confirmation about what I heard Him say: “Go back to your island and start a Christian school.” What? But I just started a family. Living in Java was comfortable, convenient, and a lot cheaper. But ignoring His voice was pointless. After talking to Mr. Richardson, my heart was settled that I would obey. And as I laid my head on my pillow that night, my heart was finally at peace and I was able to sleep.
But there I was. Alone, trying to find an unknown village in some remote, hilly, dry land. No roads, no electricity. Pioneering a school was a tough job! But I felt an excitement and passion as I knew this was what God wanted me to do.
As I arrived at the village, I was welcomed by the elders. I could see their struggle. The weather was unbearably hot during the day and extremely cold at night. Their farmlands were dry from weeks without rain. Children roamed around in dirty clothes and hadn’t bathed for days, since they used whatever clean water they had for cooking and drinking. I met several children suffering with diarrhea, stomachaches, and vomiting from drinking contaminated water. The damaging effects of drought were evident in these children, but so were the ramifications of educational scarcity since the closest school was hours away and they had no way to get there.
When I asked the elders what their dream was, they said that they wanted their children to be educated so they could build their lives and land. That was my dream too! And I believe that through transformative Christian education, these children will do that and so much more.
Now, it’s been five years since my first visit to that village. A village I now call home. We built a school out of bamboo equipped with a water system for the community. The children no longer need to walk for miles to get clean water and school is no longer out of reach. Seventeen neighboring villages have started schools that are supported by that first school. It has become a hub school that provides training and resources for the surrounding villages.
I praise the Lord every time I see the children of this island coming to our schools, receiving an education, and hearing the Good News. God has opened streams of living water to these children and I praise Him for everyone who made this possible.
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